This is a very dumb idea, of course, perhaps the dumbest thing you can do with your money. Yet for folks of a certain age who have little savings - and who are getting next to no return - it might seem tempting. From the LAT:
Most Americans with IRA or 401(k) accounts embrace the "set it and forget it" philosophy. Only about 15% of investors made any change to their 401(k)s last year, according to benefits firm Aon Hewitt. But among those willing to make shifts, there's a growing inclination to do so more frequently as retirement approaches, according to some financial planners. These experts sympathize with investor frustrations but predict that this type of trading will backfire for most.
Some people are trying another potentially risky tactic to overcome the weak market -- trading stock options in their IRA accounts. They agree to buy a falling stock, or sell a rising one, in exchange for a set payment. The goal is to pocket steady fees without having to buy or sell at inopportune times. As many as 40% of people trading options at the Motley Fool do so in retirement accounts, said Jeff Fischer, an options advisor at the investment website. "There is -- I don't want to use the word 'desperation' -- but it's close to that," Fischer said.